|Participants on JNF's Solidarity mission at Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem|
Boston, MA: July 30, 2014 -- Last week's FAA ban on flights to Israel and the constant barrage of rocket attacks into the country was no deterrent as more than 50 participants of Jewish National Fund's L'Chaim Solidarity Mission and JNFuture Leadership Institute Mission (JLIM) arrived earlier this week to support the nation and meet with Israeli leaders and soldiers as Operation Protective Edge enters its third week.
Billed as Breathing Life Back into Israel, the L'Chaim Solidarity Mission was organized by JNF only two weeks ago, when constant rocket assaults from Gaza into Israel began to negatively impact Israel's economy and the mood of her people. The mission runs July 27-31.
Brookline, MA resident Zev Steinmetz shared, "I had been really putting pen to Facebook to express myself, and feeling totally helpless about the situation. I welcomed this opportunity to meet with those affected most, my Israeli brothers and sisters, the soldiers serving our land and people, as well as top officials to really learn what is going on through my own eyes. I am so grateful to JNF for giving us the chance."
|Tal Brody, Zev Steinmetz and Major General (Res) Doron Almog at Aleh Negev|
Through the course of the mission, participants met with residents of the Northern Negev who shared their personal stories and experiences; heard exclusive security updates and attend insider briefings with top Israeli officials; volunteered at JNF's Indoor Recreation Center in Sderot; spoke with Iron Dome IDF representatives for a unique look at the remarkable lifesaving system; and delivered much-needed supplies to Israeli firefighters and IDF soldiers while hearing their stories of bravery and courage.
"Now more than ever, the people of Israel need to know that Jews around the world stand in support of our homeland and her people," said JNF CEO Russell F. Robinson, who is leading the mission of 35 participants from across the country along with mission chairs Lauren Mescon, Melinda Wolf, and Vivian Grossman and vice-chair Rabbi Brian Glusman.
Planned for over a year, The JLIM Mission arrived in Israel this past weekend. Led by JNF's Chief Israel Advocacy and Leadership Officer Yael Septee Kane, its participants included more than 20 young Jewish professionals from across the United States. These young leaders are members of JNFuture, the gateway for the next generation to JNF, engaging and energizing young leaders who are committed to environmentalism and community development in Israel. JLIM is an annual mission that this year has taken on an even more meaningful purpose.
The first two stops on the mission were visits to David Ben Gurion's home and Independence Hall in Tel Aviv to emphasize the special tone of this particular trip. While most of the mission will focused on leadership activities and meetings with successful young business leaders in Israel, the present crisis turned the journey for the young people into one meant to send a strong message of support.
"Being in Israel leading the JLIM mission during this time was even more meaningful than we anticipated," said Jonathan Gertman, JLIM mission co-chair. "The sense of solidarity among the Israeli people, and between the Israelis and us as visitors that chose to continue the mission, was so moving," he added.
Co-Chair Dana Rubin agreed: "Many individuals have shared with us the belief that the JNFuture leaders participating in the mission represent a devotion and passion to Israel that is inspiring and critical to the future of Israel and the Jewish people."
During the last three weeks Israel has done much to protect her citizens, and JNF's mobilization has helped tremendously. To contribute to the ongoing emergency campaign, or to learn more about JNF missions to Israel, contact New England Director Sara Hefez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888.JNF.0999 x811.
JEWISH NATIONAL FUND (JNF) began in 1901 as a dream and vision to reestablish a homeland in Israel for Jewish people everywhere. Jews the world over collected coins in iconic JNF Blue Boxes, purchasing land and planting trees until ultimately, their dream of a Jewish homeland was a reality. JNF gives all generations of Jews a unique voice in building a prosperous future for the land of Israel and its people.
JNF embodies both heart and action; our work is varied in scope but singular in benefit. We strive to bring an enhanced quality of life to all of Israel's residents, and translate these advancements to the world beyond. JNF is greening the desert with millions of trees, building thousands of parks, creating new communities and cities for generations of Israelis to call home, bolstering Israel's water supply, helping develop innovative arid-agriculture techniques, and educating both young and old about the founding and importance of Israel and Zionism.
JNF is a registered 501(c)(3) organization and United Nations NGO, which continuously earns top ratings from charity overseers.